DE102010055774A1 - Industrial truck with a sensor for detecting a spatial environment and method for operating such a truck - Google Patents

Industrial truck with a sensor for detecting a spatial environment and method for operating such a truck

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Publication number
DE102010055774A1
DE102010055774A1 DE201010055774 DE102010055774A DE102010055774A1 DE 102010055774 A1 DE102010055774 A1 DE 102010055774A1 DE 201010055774 DE201010055774 DE 201010055774 DE 102010055774 A DE102010055774 A DE 102010055774A DE 102010055774 A1 DE102010055774 A1 DE 102010055774A1
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DE
Germany
Prior art keywords
load
storage
sensor
forks
truck
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
DE201010055774
Other languages
German (de)
Inventor
Dr.-Ing. Magens Ernst-Peter
Dr.-Ing. Mänken Frank
Jonni Verch
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Jungheinrich AG
Original Assignee
Jungheinrich AG
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Jungheinrich AG filed Critical Jungheinrich AG
Priority to DE201010055774 priority Critical patent/DE102010055774A1/en
Publication of DE102010055774A1 publication Critical patent/DE102010055774A1/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B66HOISTING; LIFTING; HAULING
    • B66FHOISTING, LIFTING, HAULING OR PUSHING, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, e.g. DEVICES WHICH APPLY A LIFTING OR PUSHING FORCE DIRECTLY TO THE SURFACE OF A LOAD
    • B66F9/00Devices for lifting or lowering bulky or heavy goods for loading or unloading purposes
    • B66F9/06Devices for lifting or lowering bulky or heavy goods for loading or unloading purposes movable, with their loads, on wheels or the like, e.g. fork-lift trucks
    • B66F9/075Constructional features or details
    • B66F9/0755Position control; Position detectors

Abstract

Truck with a mast on which a load bearing means with two forks is guided adjustable in height, arranged on the load support means for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation, which is adapted to support a storage process from the data collected by the sensor to a storage position determine, wherein the sensor has a time-of-flight camera system with a light source, a light sensor and a light entrance opening, wherein at least the light entrance opening is arranged in the region of a tip of one of the forks.

Description

  • The invention relates to an industrial truck with a mast, on which a load carrying means with two forks is guided adjustable in height, arranged on the load supporting means sensor for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation, which is designed to support a storage process from the detected by the sensor Data to determine a storage position, and a method for operating such a truck.
  • In many areas of logistics, in particular intralogistics, industrial trucks are used. In the area of general cargo transport, loading equipment in the form of pallets, lattice boxes, etc. are often used, which combine individual, smaller piece goods to load units, which then effectively and economically transported by means of industrial trucks, which are usually equipped with forks for receiving the load units , be loaded and stacked. The stacking heights in shelves reach heights of up to 10 to 13 meters, with the operator remains on the vehicle near the ground. The operator's eyes are therefore 8 to 11 meters away from the actual loading and unloading process on the shelf, which makes the loading and unloading process difficult, especially under bad viewing angles, poor lighting and other visual obstructions. The operation of such trucks requires a lot of experience in order to be able to perform these operations quickly, safely and effectively.
  • To assist the operator in this situation, the use of a video camera has become known in the field of load carrying means whose image of the operator is displayed on a monitor. The operator evaluates the video image and operates the vehicle in such a way that when stored the pallet above the shelf support collision-free deposited in the shelf and can be inserted without collision in the entry opening of the pallet during the removal of the fork.
  • From the publication DE 10 2004 027 446 B4 For example, a solution has been known which combines such a camera-monitor system with a height-height-selection device. The desired lifting height is preselected by the operator and automatically adjusted by the vehicle. During the lifting process, the display of the stroke height preselection is displayed and the video image of the camera monitor system is automatically displayed. With the help of the video image, the operator makes the lateral alignment of the forks. In the system described, the position of the fork tip in relation to the shelf support or to the entry opening into the range can be estimated relatively well, however, when storing a pallet, it is still difficult to properly assess the lateral distance to other pallets or side shelf posts , The required stacking depth is difficult to assess.
  • Another known concept provides for fully automatic storage or retrieval with inductively or mechanically positively driven high-bay stackers. Due to the forced operation, the distance of the forks or the pallet to the shelf is kept constant within small tolerances. The pallet is picked up or released laterally, transversely to the vehicle longitudinal direction, by special load-carrying means, for example swiveling push or telescopic forks. The Hubhöheneinstellung via a stroke control device, which is equipped with an actual value sensor. The lateral alignment, in the direction of travel, is carried out with the aid of expensive displacement measuring devices and, if necessary, additional markings at the storage locations and corresponding sensors on the vehicle. In Einstapelrichtung, here transverse to the direction of travel, can be used with fixed displacement paths, since the distance of the vehicle to the shelf and the pallet length are known and constant. However, a prerequisite for such concepts is a complex system consisting of both vehicle components and stationary components. In addition, a manual stacking of pallets must be reliably prevented because otherwise can not be ensured that the pallets are positioned within the allowable tolerances. Such a fully automatic system is thus costly in purchase and operation and still not very flexible.
  • From the publication DE 10 2008 027 695 A1 has become known a method for storage position control with industrial trucks. The known industrial trucks have on a load carriage, below a load bearing means, a laser scanner, which detects a spatial environment, in particular below the load supporting means. From the data of the laser scanner, a storage position is determined. Subsequently, a desired position of the load supporting means is determined for approaching this storage position and finally corrects the actual position of the load bearing means accordingly.
  • From the publication US 2010/0091094 A1 For example, a device for measuring a volume of freight has become known. The cargo is picked up from different directions using a time-of-flight camera system.
  • On this basis, it is the object of the invention to provide an industrial truck with the features of the preamble of claim 1, the better an operator at Ein- and Outsourcing of loads supported, reliable and flexible in use and allows for further automation, and a method for operating such a truck.
  • This object is achieved by the truck with the features of claim 1. Advantageous embodiments are specified in the subsequent subclaims.
  • The truck according to the invention has a mast on which a load carrying means with two forks is guided adjustable in height, arranged on the load supporting means sensor for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation unit which is adapted to support a storage operation from the data collected by the sensor one Determine storage position. The sensor has a time-of-flight camera system with a light source, a light sensor and a light entry opening, wherein at least the light entry opening is arranged in the region of a tip of one of the fork tines.
  • A time-of-flight camera system has a light source and a light sensor, wherein the light source transmits modulated, in particular pulsed, light after reflection from the objects in the image field through a light entrance opening or the light entry opening onto a plurality of image points of the light sensor usually arranged in a matrix, impinges and is detected. In this case, transit time differences of the light are evaluated, so that each pixel can be assigned a value for the distance of the object. Since the optical properties of the system are known, the position of an object detected by each pixel in space can be determined in all three spatial directions. With the time-of-flight camera system, therefore, a three-dimensional "vision" of the spatial area in the direction of the camera system is possible.
  • The spatial image of the environment is always determined based on the location of the light sensor or the light entrance opening, so that by placing the light entry opening in the region of a tip of one of the forks the immediate vicinity of the fork tip, which is crucial for a collision-free storage and retrieval of loads , is recorded very precisely.
  • A further advantage of the invention is that the image of the environment detected by the time-of-flight camera system provides a better basis for an automated evaluation of the image data than the use of a laser scanner proposed in the prior art, which additionally only provides data on individual observation planes detected.
  • Overall, the loading or unloading process can be optimally supported based on the data provided by the time-of-flight camera system.
  • In the invention, at least the light entrance opening of the time-of-flight camera system is arranged in the region of a tip of one of the fork tines. The associated light source and the light sensor can also be arranged in this area, in particular when using a camera system, are combined in the light source and light sensor to form a unit. Alternatively, the light source may be arranged at a distance from the light sensor / the light entry opening, for example in the region of the tip of the other fork tine. This makes it possible to distribute the camera system on two particularly compact units, which can be accommodated more easily in the area of the forks.
  • In one embodiment, the light sensor and / or the light source and / or the light entry opening is arranged in a recess of a fork tine tip. Light sensor and / or light source and / or light inlet opening can be arranged so that they do not project beyond a contour of the fork tine at any point, whereby they are reliably protected from damage. Also possible is an arrangement behind a transparent window for the light used. As a result, in particular the light sensor or the light source is additionally protected against damage. In principle, light sensor and / or light source and / or light entrance opening not only in a recess of a fork tip, so in other words integrated into the fork tip itself, but also laterally or below the actual fork tip, where they are protected by a suitable housing or other protective Structures, for example in the form of adjacent reinforcing ribs, can be protected from damage.
  • In one embodiment, in each case a light sensor and / or a light source and / or a light inlet opening of a time-of-flight camera system is arranged in the region of each of the two tips of the forks, the fields of view are each directed obliquely forward outward. By using two camera systems, the environment of the two fork tips can be detected particularly reliably. This is especially true when extra-wide loads requiring a relatively large distance between the two forks are to be transported. Basically, however, the use of a single camera system is sufficient, which is arranged in the region of a tip of one of the two forks.
  • In one embodiment, the industrial truck has a display unit which is connected to the evaluation unit and is designed to display one or more of the following instructions to an operator as a function of a current position of the load carrier in relation to a detected storage position: raise or lower load carrier, Move the load support to the right or left, turn the load support around a vertical axis to the left or right, tilt the load support up or down from the horizontal, move the load support longitudinally forward or backward. The indicated displays can be illustrated in particular by graphic symbols which simplify the detection of the respective instruction. The instruction for inclining the load bearing means may refer as usual to an inclination of the mast with the load carrying means. The instruction to rotate the load bearing means about a vertical axis may refer to a rotation of the entire truck with the load bearing means. The instruction to move the load support forward or back may refer to movement of the entire truck with mast and load support or the mast with the load support. Required rotation of the load bearing means about a vertical axis to the left or to the right, that is viewed from above in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, may, for example, be based on a front edge of the storage position detected by the camera system. It can be determined when the edge has a non-90 ° angle to a longitudinal direction of the load bearing means. A required inclination of the load supporting means relative to the horizontal upwards or downwards, that is a raising or lowering of the tips of the forks relative to the rear ends, in particular by means of a tilt sensor, which is arranged on the load supporting means and the measurement of an inclination of the forks relative to the Horizontal measures, be determined. The tilt sensor may be connected to the display unit for this purpose. All of the aforementioned instructions or information displayed by the display system assist an operator in collision-free loading or unloading of a load.
  • In one embodiment, the evaluation unit is spatially integrated into the time-of-flight camera system. This allows a particularly compact design. Retrofitting a conventional truck may also be easier.
  • The above object is also achieved by the method having the features of claim 6. Advantageous embodiments are given in the subsequent subclaims.
  • The inventive method is used to operate an industrial truck, which has a mast, on which a load supporting means with two forks is height adjustable, arranged on the load supporting means sensor for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation unit, which is designed to support a storage operation to determine the data collected by the sensor, a storage position, wherein the sensor has a time-of-flight camera system with a light source, a light sensor and a light entrance opening and at least the light entrance opening is arranged in the region of a tip of one of the forks. The method comprises the following steps:
    • • detecting a spatial environment of the truck with the time-of-flight camera system,
    • Evaluating the signals of the time-of-flight camera system and determining a storage or retraction position,
    • Moving the load-carrying means towards the determined storage or retraction position, and
    • • picking up or putting down a load.
  • For the features and advantages of the method according to the invention, reference is made to the above explanations of the corresponding features of the truck according to the invention. The storage position, which is determined based on the signals from the time-of-flight camera system, may be, for example, a parking space for a pallet on a shelf. The storage position is then characterized by a horizontally extending support for the pallet, for example comprising one or more cross members, and vertically extending shelf posts which limit the storage position on one or both sides. A retraction position may consist in particular of the receptacles of a pallet into which the forks are moved. It has a defined and clearly defined position, which must be driven in with a fork to raise the pallet.
  • In one embodiment, the determination of the storage or retraction position by means of methods of pattern recognition, wherein predefined geometric features of the storage positions or the loads to be absorbed are detected in the provided by the time-of-flight camera system data. For example, pallets have standardized dimensions and receptacles for the forks in defined areas that give a characteristic pattern. The same applies to different shelf types whose storage positions also have characteristic features. With the help of pattern recognition methods, these can be recognized in the acquired data and thus the storage or retraction positions or Positions of the loads themselves are determined. The data collected by the time-of-flight camera system provides a particularly suitable basis for such pattern recognition methods.
  • In one embodiment, an operator is presented with one or more of the following instructions in response to a current position of the load support relative to the sensed storage or retraction position: raising or lowering load support, moving load support to the right or left, load support means about a vertical axis to the left or turn right, tilt the load support up or down from the horizontal, move the load support longitudinally forward or backward. By displaying the above instructions, the system supports the operator in addition to manually be performed storage and retrieval process. It is therefore an assistance system in which the driver still retains control over the performance of each movement of the load-carrying means.
  • In another embodiment, the movement of the load carrying means is partially automatic, wherein an operator agrees to individual movement steps and the respective movement step is then carried out automatically without further user interaction. The consent is given, for example, by pressing an enabling button. In this embodiment, the system automatically engages in the control of the movement of the load supporting means, wherein for individual movement steps in each case a prior consent of the operator is required. This procedure can lead to a further rationalization of the stacking or unstacking operation, wherein the operator retains the possibility of intervening to correct, as far as is necessary, before each movement step.
  • In one embodiment of the method, the movement of the load carrying means is fully automatic, wherein after a rough positioning of the truck and / or the load supporting means by an operator moving the load supporting means to the determined storage or retraction position and the recording or discontinuation of the load by agreement of the operator without further user interaction takes place. The consent is given, for example, by pressing an enabling button. For example, the enabling button can be kept permanently depressed during the automatic movement sequences, so that the movement sequences can be interrupted at any time by releasing the button. In this embodiment, the system of the operator from further operating steps, which can lead to further rationalization.
  • In one embodiment, a distinction is made between a loading and a removal process automatically based on a load sensor detected, recorded by the load supporting means load, in particular, the storage of a load is automatically prevented or a warning is displayed when the existence of a load is detected. In particular, it is possible to automatically recognize a pallet located on the selected storage space and to prevent a collision by displaying the warning or automatically preventing storage. An automatic differentiation between storage and retrieval processes is also useful in order to search in the evaluation of the signals of the camera system selectively either for a storage position or for a retraction position and / or the operator on a display unit only relevant to the process or information To give instructions.
  • In one embodiment, a marking with a predetermined geometric shape is mounted on a shelf, which is automatically detected by the evaluation and used to determine a storage position. The marking can be cuboid with defined dimensions, for example. The recognition of the marking in the data captured by the camera system can be done, for example, with methods of pattern recognition. By such a mark the recognition of a storage position can be simplified and the accuracy of the position detection can be improved.
  • The invention will be explained in more detail with reference to embodiments shown in FIGS. Show it:
  • 1 an inventive truck in a schematic representation of the side,
  • 2 a load carrier with two forks and a time-of-flight camera system integrated into one of the forks in the area of the tip,
  • 3 a load carrier with two forks with a time-of-flight camera system, wherein the light sensor is arranged in a first fork and a separate light source in a second fork,
  • 4 a display unit in a schematic representation,
  • 5 a partial view of a shelf and a mast of an industrial truck in a Unpiling in a simplified representation of the side,
  • 6 one of the 5 corresponding view during a stacking process,
  • 7 a top view of a shelf and the mast of a truck from above in a Unpile (in the picture above) and a stacking process (in the picture below),
  • 8th a block diagram of components of a truck according to the invention in a version as an assistance system,
  • 9 a block diagram of components of a truck according to the invention in a further automation,
  • 10 a plan view of a shelf and the mast of a truck from above according to the 7 with wide loading units,
  • 11 another plan view according to the 10 when using markers at individual storage locations and using a camera system with a separate light source.
  • 1 shows an inventive truck, shown here by way of example as a counterbalance truck, which is equipped with an assistance system for storage and retrieval of pallets, in a side view. The vehicle 1 consists of the main body 2 with front and rear axle, from the rotatably mounted mast 3 on which a load carriage 12 is led höhenverschieblich, and that with 9 designated driver station module, the on the base vehicle 2 is stored and the operator station 8th for the driver. At the load carriage 12 are two forks 4 at least one near the tine tip is a time-of-flight camera system 5 which, including its light entrance opening, is arranged laterally next to the fork tine or in a corresponding recess within the fork tine tip. Furthermore, an evaluation unit 6 can be integrated into the time-of-flight camera system or, as shown, separately z. B. on the mast 3 can be attached. The time-of-flight camera system 5 is in a separate arrangement for power supply and signal exchange with the electrical evaluation unit 6 connected. At the driver station module is a display and control unit 7 attached for communication with the operator, which also electrically connected to the evaluation unit 6 or with integrated construction with the time-of-flight camera system 5 connected is. The beam path of the time-of-flight camera system 5 is with the arrows 10 indicated. With 13 is a sensor that indicates the inclination of the forks 4 determined. If the forks only height adjustable relative to the mast 3 are executed, this sensor can 13 on the mast 3 be attached, the forks are 4 opposite the mast 3 Also arranged tiltable, so should the sensor 13 on the load carriage 12 be attached.
  • Furthermore, a measuring device 14 for determining the lifting height of the forks 4 intended.
  • 2 shows a plan view of the forks 4 and the load carriage 12 , the remaining components of the truck are not shown. The dashed time-of-flight camera system 5 is in the lower fork in the picture 4 in their top z. B. arranged centrally. Because the forks 4 and especially their tips are exposed to high mechanical stresses in daily use, it makes sense, the time-of-flight camera system 5 in the fork 4 so that it does not protrude beyond the contour of the fork tine tip. This can be done in this part of the fork tine 4 a corresponding cavity or a recess are inserted flush. In addition to the illustrated central arrangement is also a lateral arrangement in the fork tip 4 possible. Furthermore, the time-of-flight camera system 5 if its size and mechanical design permit, also on the side of the outer edge of the fork tine 4 be arranged. This puts less modifications to the fork tine 4 ahead, but narrows the space for threading the fork tine tips into the entry openings of a pallet.
  • For the function of the time-of-flight camera system 5 it is necessary that the measurement object is illuminated by light pulses, the beam path of the light pulses is with 21 characterized. The beam path of the actual camera is again named 10. He can also see the field of view of the camera system 5 or the light sensor.
  • 3 again shows a plan view of the forks 4 as in 2 However, this is the time-of-flight camera system 5 here divided into two assemblies to reduce the size. In the prong shown in the picture above is the light source 23 with her beam path 21 arranged while the light sensor 22 with his beam path 10 or field of vision in the lower fork in the picture 4 is arranged.
  • 4 shows a possible embodiment of a arranged in the control room of the truck display and control unit 7 , On the z. B. touch-sensitive screen 31 For the case of an assistance system, the displays required for the operation are shown.
  • With the boxes in the lower left corner 32 . 33 is selected or signaled whether it is an input or removal process A. In the case shown, a solid circle indicates the Letter E indicates that it is a storage operation.
  • Central on the screen is a z. B. reversed L-shaped character 34 that the forks 4 symbolizes. To this character are z. B. arranged four arrows that indicate whether the forks 4 for a safe, collision-free storage or retrieval in height and laterally correctly positioned. The arrow with the top pointing up here indicated by a solid line indicates that the forks 4 still need to be raised. When the correct lifting height is reached, the arrow goes out. The same applies mutatis mutandis to the downward arrow. Right and left of the L-shaped sign are corresponding arrows for the lateral alignment of the forks 4 , transverse to the direction of insertion. In the case shown, the fork tine 4 to be moved to the right.
  • The symbol 35 makes clear how the vehicle and thus the forks 4 are aligned to the storage place. The upper solid line indicates the shelf or storage space, the lower line indicates the alignment of a line across the leading edges of the fork tine tips 4 , In the case shown, the vehicle is obliquely in front of the storage bin, it would have to be rotated counterclockwise to store collision-free can. The other possibilities, misalignment in the opposite direction and parallelism, are shown in dashed lines.
  • The symbol 36 makes clear how the forks 4 are aligned in their longitudinal direction to the horizontal. In the case shown, the forks are 4 tilted backwards, so they must be rotated counterclockwise to achieve the horizontal orientation. The dashed representations are to be understood analogously.
  • The sign 37 indicates z. B. in the form of a traffic light, whether the storage or retrieval, ie the displacement of the forks 4 in its longitudinal direction is permissible. In the case shown, the traffic light is red, because the vehicle is still at an angle to the shelf, the forks 4 still lifted, shifted to the right and tilted counterclockwise.
  • Through the exemplary character group 38 can be indicated in which direction the forks 4 have to be moved in their longitudinal direction and whether a sufficient displacement is achieved. The display field 39 indicates to the operator which shelf level in the vertical direction by lifting the forks 4 has been achieved in order to carry out a loading or unloading operation.
  • 5 shows the partial side view of a retrieval process just before threading the forks 4 into the entry openings of the pallet loaded with a load 54 , This is in the second level of a shelf that is out of the uprights 50 and the cut shelves shown 51 . 52 is stacked. With the help of the height measuring device 13 were the forks 4 roughly positioned at the lifting height. The correct fork tip inclination was with the help of the sensor 14 adjusted and supported by the time-of-flight camera system 5 will adjust the orientation of the forks 4 to the front of the shelf supports 51 checked and then a precise positioning of the forks 4 carried out in the vertical and in the transverse direction to the fork longitudinal direction. The time-of-flight camera system detects this 5 the contours of the upper edge of the front support of the shelf supports 51 and the contour of the entry openings of the pallet 54 , The operator is dictated by the displays described, such as the forks 4 has to align to allow a collision-free retraction.
  • 6 shows the partial side view of a storage process just before entering the with the pallet 55 loaded forks 4 in the shelf. Height positioning is done using the time-of-flight camera system 5 and his beam path 10 and the top edge of the front support of the shelf supports 51 , For lateral alignment transverse to the longitudinal direction of the forks 4 Now the contour of the front of the two shelf stands 50 or the side contour of a pallet already stacked on the shelf next to the shelf. Also, for aligning the pallet or the forks or the vehicle perpendicular to the shelf leading edge, as already explained, the time-of-flight camera system 5 used.
  • 7 shows a shelf, consisting of the cut stands shown 50 and the shelf supports 51 , the loading units 54 . 55 . 61 and the forks 4 in a partial section in the plan view.
  • 8th shows a block diagram of the electronic components of the assistance system. The light sensor 22 is on the one hand with the separate light source 23 connected and on the other hand with the evaluation unit 6 , The result of the evaluation becomes the display and control unit 7 communicated. This shows according to the operator 4 on how to use the truck. Furthermore, the Hubhöhenmesseinrichtung 13 and the tilt sensors 14 with the display and operating unit 7 connected. The operation of the button 76 Switches the display of the result of the image analysis of the time-of-flight camera system 5 on the screen of the display and control unit 7 one.
  • 9 shows a block diagram in the event that the assistance system described is extended so that a partially or fully automated storage or retrieval can be realized. In this case, the display and control unit 7 as in 8th with the evaluation unit 6 connected. In addition, a wireless connection z. B. a radio connection 71 to a control system 70 and a connection to an approval key 72 , The lifting height measuring device 13 and the tilt sensors 14 are with an interface unit 73 connected to the signal network 74 , z. As the CAN bus, the truck with its control device 75 connected. This network also provides the connection to the display and control unit 7 ,
  • For different stages of development, which are explained in more detail later, are still connected: The vehicle-side part 92 a location system, a load detection sensor 93 and means for loading unit identification, e.g. B. Barcode reader 90 , for reading a barcode attached to the loading unit 91 ,
  • 10 shows a shelf, consisting of the cut stands shown 50 and the shelf supports 51 , the extra wide loading units 84 . 85 and the forks 4 with time-of-flight camera systems 5 with integrated light source in a partial section in plan view.
  • 11 shows a shelf, consisting of the cut stands shown 50 and the shelf supports 51 , the extra wide loading units 84 . 85 , the forks 4 with a light sensor 22 and a separate light source 23 in a partial section in the plan view. Furthermore, cuboid markings 80 , which are partially shown in dashed lines, on the shelf supports, also partially shown in dashed lines 51 fixed so that they are always assigned to the respective pallet place in the same way.
  • The function of the industrial truck according to the invention and the method according to the invention will be explained below on the basis of three examples which have different degrees of automation. In a first implementation, the system is made of time-of-light camera system 5 , Evaluation unit 6 and display and operating unit used as an assistance system. The truck driver is reminded to operate the vehicle during storage and retrieval by means of displays on the display and operating unit 7 supported. A paging operation can be performed as follows:
    The driver selects via the button 33 the display and control unit 7 the function outsourcing and positions the truck in front of the shelf so that the forks 4 only have to be moved slightly laterally when they have been raised to the correct lifting height. Then he judges with the help of the sensors 14 and the ad 36 on the display and control unit 7 the forks 4 horizontally. Then with the help of Hubhöhenmesseinrichtung 13 and the ad 39 lifting the horizontal forks 4 to the right shelf level. Now you can with the help of a button 76 the ads 34 and 35 to be activated.
  • The front of the shelf supports 51 and the pallet of the loading unit 54 be from the light source of the time-of-flight camera system 5 or the separate light source 23 illuminated, the reflected light pulses are from the light sensor 22 and to the evaluation unit 6 forwarded. Here, a comparison of the signals with known patterns of shelf supports and pallets located thereon and in particular their entry openings. The ad 37 shows z. B. the color red, ie the forks 4 may not yet be moved in the fork tine longitudinal direction, because they after evaluation of the signals of the time-of-flight camera system 5 according to 4 still have to be moved to the right and up. Furthermore, it is determined with the help of the light reflections of the front shelf level, whether the forks 4 stand in their longitudinal direction perpendicular to the shelf support. This is as advertised 35 in 4 not the case, the vehicle is at an angle to the shelf support and must be aligned accordingly by driving maneuver of the operator. As soon as sufficient perpendicularity is given, the display shows 35 z. B. two parallel lines. The correction of the vertical position is carried out by utilizing the lifting / lowering function of the vehicle, for the correction in the transverse direction are known side thrusters that the forks 4 relative to the vehicle or mast or load carriage 12 can move in the transverse direction. Are also the forks 4 right in front of the entry openings of the pallet of the loading unit 54 positioned, is displayed 34 only the fork tine 4 but no arrow appears and the display 37 shows in the lower circle the color green, ie the forks 4 can now be moved in their longitudinal direction by moving the mast and / or method of the vehicle in the fork longitudinal direction. When the forks 4 entirely in the openings of the pallet of the loading unit 54 pushed in, the operator raises the forks 4 and then the loading unit 54 and stack them out.
  • In a further advantageous embodiment of the system, the distance information of the time-of-flight camera system 5 to the shelf supports 51 used. When inserting the forks 4 in the entry openings of the pallet of the loading unit 54 The time-of-flight camera system determines the distance to the front shelf support. With proper storage of the loading unit 54 surrendered from this the required travel of the forks 4 in their longitudinal direction, so that the fork back comes to rest on the loading unit and thus the loading unit properly on the forks 4 is positioned. The displacement of the forks 4 results depending on the vehicle type relative to the base vehicle. For the determination of these ways solutions are known and are therefore not described in detail. The operator is shown with the display 38 indicated by the left-pointing arrow that the forks 4 have to be moved towards the shelf. Do the forks 4 pass through the displacement resulting from the loading unit and shelf dimensions, the arrow goes out in the display 38 and thus indicates to the operator a sufficient displacement.
  • A storage procedure can be carried out as follows: The driver selects via the button 32 the display and control unit 7 the function of storing and positioning the truck in front of the shelf, that with the loading unit 55 loaded forks 4 only have to be moved slightly laterally when they have been raised to the correct lifting height. Then he judges with the help of the sensors 14 and the ad 36 on the display and control unit 7 the forks 4 horizontally. Then with the help of Hubhöhenmesseinrichtung 13 and the ad 39 lifting the horizontal forks 4 to the right shelf level. Now you can with the help of a button 76 the ads 34 and 35 to be activated.
  • The front of the shelf supports 51 and the vertical shelf stand located to the side of the empty pallet storage space 50 or the adjacent, on-shelf loading unit 61 to 7 be from the light source of the time-of-flight camera system 5 or the separate light source 23 illuminated, the reflected light pulses are from the light sensor 22 of the time-of-flight camera system 5 and to the evaluation unit 6 forwarded. Here is a comparison of the signals with known patterns of shelf supports and pallets located on it or side shelf stands. The ad 37 shows z. B. the color red, ie the forks may not be moved in the fork tine longitudinal direction, because they after evaluation of the signals of the time-of-flight camera system 5 according to 4 still have to be moved to the right and up. Furthermore, it is determined with the help of the light reflections of the front shelf level, whether the forks 4 stand in their longitudinal direction perpendicular to the shelf support. This is as advertised 35 in 4 not the case, the vehicle is at an angle to the shelf support and must be aligned accordingly by driving maneuver of the operator. Once a sufficient squareness is given, the display shows 35 z. B. two parallel lines. Are also the forks 4 , relative to the vertical direction, correct to the shelf support 51 and positioned to the lateral shelf units or neighboring load units, with respect to the transverse direction, is in display 34 only the fork tine 4 but no arrow appears and the display 37 shows in the lower circle the color green, ie the loading unit can now be moved in its longitudinal direction by moving the mast and / or method of the vehicle in the fork longitudinal direction. When the charging unit 55 The operator lowers the forks sufficiently far into the rack 4 and thus sets the charging unit 54 on the shelf supports 51 from.
  • Also in this storage process, the distance measurement described above can be used to indicate to the operator that the loading unit is sufficiently deep stacked. In a further advantageous embodiment of the invention is when not permitted retraction of the forks 4 into the entry openings of the pallet or in case of unacceptable stacking of the loading unit, both marked by the red indicator 37 , automatically prevents the forks 4 in their longitudinal direction by moving the vehicle and / or advancing the mast can be moved.
  • In a more extensive automation, the described processes can be partially automatic. The operator positions the empty or loaded with a load unit forks 4 roughly in front of a shelf, lifts the forks 4 until the z. B. lowest shelf support and positioned the vehicle with the help of driving and steering maneuvers and the display 35 perpendicular to the shelf level, once the time-of-flight camera system 5 the front of the shelf supports 51 has recognized and the ad 35 with the button 76 has been activated. The bottom shelf level is particularly suitable for orientation because it can be easily seen by the driver.
  • The operator then lifts the forks 4 or the loading unit using the lifting height sensor 13 via the interface unit 73 and the CAN bus 74 with the vehicle control device 75 and the display and control unit 7 connected, and the ad 39 to the approximate correct lifting height and actuates the enabling button 72 , Now the vehicle control device receives 75 via the vehicle signal network 74 from the display and control unit 7 the command "Fork horizontal". With the help of the tilt sensor 14 via the interface unit 73 and the CAN bus 74 with the vehicle control device 75 connected, the forks are 4 by the vehicle control device 75 and the vehicle functions automatically aligned horizontally. Then, always with previous activation of the confirmation button 72 by the operator, are from the display and control unit 7 Commands such as "raise", "lower", "side thrust left" and "side thrust right" over the signal network 74 to the vehicle control device 75 given until the forks 4 to the entry openings and the shelf support or the loading unit to the shelf support and the lateral boundaries (rack stand or neighboring range) automatically, using the signals of the evaluation 6 , are aligned. Now the operator will be informed about the ads 37 and 38 displayed as he used the forks 4 or the charging unit 55 has to proceed in the fork longitudinal direction to ensure a proper picking up or setting down the loading unit.
  • In a further advantageous embodiment of the partial automation is also the displacement of the forks 4 or the loading unit in the fork longitudinal direction by commands of the display and control unit 7 to the vehicle control device 75 coped with automatically. For this purpose, the functions mast forward feed or vehicle travel forward in conjunction with the feed and / or travel measurement and the distance measurement via the time-of-flight camera system 5 used. This description applies analogously to the loading and unloading of loading units.
  • In a further advantageous embodiment of the invention, the stacking of the charging unit is prevented when the time-of-flight camera system 5 recognizes the contour of a pallet, although the storage space for the intended storage (button E 32 actuated) of a loading unit must be free. In addition, the signal of the load detection sensor 93 who's on the forks 4 located with the signal of the time-of-flight camera system 5 in that a pallet is already located in the intended storage space and can be linked in such a way that a loading unit is stacked on an occupied storage space.
  • Also possible is a fully automatic storage and retrieval. In this case, in addition to the described partial automation, a wireless connection, in particular a radio connection 71 between the display and control unit 7 on the vehicle and a stationary forklift guidance system 70 used.
  • This control system 70 obtained from a warehouse management system 77 the command, a specific charging unit (eg 54 or 55 ) on a certain shelf space or outsource. The control system selects a suitable industrial truck and gives it the corresponding infeed or removal order via the wireless radio link 71 to the on-board display and control unit 7 further. There, this order is displayed to the operator. In the case of a storage order, the operator picks up the loading unit at the specified, so-called source or, in the case of a removal order, drives it with unloaded forks 4 to the specified pickup location. He positions the vehicle in front of the corresponding shelf and presses the consent button 72 , Then generates the display and control unit 7 the command "lift" until the unit 7 known height of the first shelf support is reached. Now the signal of the time-of-flight camera system is automatically interrogated 5 for vertical alignment of the vehicle in front of the shelf. For this purpose, the driver is the current actual orientation using the display 35 shown. After alignment by means of driving and steering maneuvers by the operator, the display shows 35 z. B. two parallel lines and the operator presses the consent button 72 , Now the display and control unit generates 7 the command "lift" until the unit 7 From the input or Auslagerauftrag known height of the respective shelf support using the signals of the height measuring device 13 is reached. Now, as described above for partial automation, the vertical and transverse correction is made by the signals of the time-of-flight camera system 5 and the automatic insertion of the forks or the loading unit.
  • For very wide loading units 84 . 85 may be the horizontal opening angle of the beam path of a time-of-flight camera system 5 not sufficient to store a load unit 85 at the same time to recognize the lateral boundaries of the intended storage space on the shelf (see 10 below). In this case, in every fork tip 4 a time-of-flight camera system 5 be provided, which is for the lateral orientation of the charging unit 85 in the left fork 4 located on the left lateral boundary (here the shelf stand 50 ) and in the right forks 4 located camera system 5 on the right border (here the left corner of the loading unit 84 ) focused. The same applies to the case of outsourcing ( 10 above). This is where the respective time-of-flight camera system focuses 5 on the right or left entry opening of the pallet to be outsourced loading unit 84 , The time-of-flight camera systems take advantage of the high-altitude orientation 5 in both cases, the upper edge of the front of the two shelf supports 51 ,
  • Alternatively, according to 11 every storage space on the shelf with one of the time-of-flight camera system 5 recognizable, three-dimensional, z. B. cuboid marking 80 be provided, since, as the truck facing side of the cuboid a smaller distance to the time-of-flight camera system 5 has as the front of the front of the two shelf supports 51 , for lateral positioning in the transverse direction. In this embodiment, as in the 3 and 11 shown again with a single light sensor 22 and a separate light source 23 to be worked.
  • In a further advantageous embodiment, the truck can additionally with one of the known location system 92 be equipped so that the operator is supported in the search for the intended storage or retrieval space. The operator is doing z. B. by appropriate displays, as they are known in the field of car navigation systems, on the screen of the display and control unit 7 in which direction he has to steer the truck to the storage or Auslagerplatz, the display and control unit 7 from the warehouse management system 70 via wireless communication 71 is communicated to reach.
  • By incorporating means for identifying one on the forks 4 located charging unit 55 respectively. 85 a further advantageous embodiment can be achieved. For this purpose z. B. a barcode scanner 90 such within the load carriage 12 to integrate that z. B. Barcode sticker 91 in the detection area of the bar code reader on the charging unit 54 . 55 . 84 . 85 are attached when retracting the forks 4 in the loading unit 54 . 55 . 84 . 85 be read automatically. The reading result is from the identification unit 90 to the display and control unit 7 given where the identified loading unit with the respective place where the truck and thus the loading unit is located, is linked.
  • With the help of an additional load detection sensor 93 , who recognizes whether a load unit is on the forks or not, can now, if necessary, with the aid of the knowledge of the respective current vehicle functions, eg. B. lifting, lowering, forward drive, reverse, etc., by logically combining the corresponding signals in the display and control unit 7 be concluded that z. For example, a specific, identified loading unit was picked up or deposited at a certain location at a certain height, that is to say it was stored or retrieved. This information can then be from the display and control unit 7 via wireless communication 71 and the control system 70 the warehouse management system 77 communicated and there z. For example, to update and verify the system 77 serve stored storage allocation.
  • Furthermore, it is possible with the invention described in combination with a known operating data acquisition system for industrial trucks, possible incorrect operations in storage and retrieval operations the respective operator who must identify himself in this system before operation, and thus achieve at least one "educational effect".
  • In summary, the following advantages can be achieved with the invention:
    • • Increasing the productivity of the forklift use by shortening the times for loading and unloading of loading units, especially for larger lifting heights,
    • • support for inexperienced operators
    • • Improved ergonomics, as tracking the loading and unloading process at higher altitudes requires a very uncomfortable or unhealthy posture of the operator,
    • • Improved safety for persons, storage facilities and loading units,
    • Possibility of automatic image analysis using the time-of-flight camera system for use in semi-automated stacking and unstacking operations;
    • • Different levels of assistance systems via partial automation to full automation,
    • • Avoidance of incorrect operation possible, incl. Assignment to individual operators,
    • • integration of an automatic loading unit identification possible,
    • • integration of a positioning system possible,
    • • upgrading to a loading unit tracking system, including the ability to verify inventory lists,
    • • Flexible response to improperly stacked cargo units or changing storage racks, etc.
  • QUOTES INCLUDE IN THE DESCRIPTION
  • This list of the documents listed by the applicant has been generated automatically and is included solely for the better information of the reader. The list is not part of the German patent or utility model application. The DPMA assumes no liability for any errors or omissions.
  • Cited patent literature
    • DE 102004027446 B4 [0004]
    • DE 102008027695 A1 [0006]
    • US 2010/0091094 A1 [0007]

Claims (12)

  1. Truck with a mast ( 3 ) on which a load carrying device with two forks ( 4 ) is guided adjustable in height, one arranged on the load supporting means sensor for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation unit ( 6 ), which is designed to determine a storage position from the data acquired by the sensor in order to support a storage operation, characterized in that the sensor is a time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) with a light source ( 23 ), a light sensor ( 22 ) and a light inlet opening, wherein at least the light inlet opening in the region of a tip of one of the fork tines ( 4 ) is arranged.
  2. Truck according to claim 1, characterized in that the light sensor ( 22 ) and / or the light source ( 23 ) and / or the light entry opening is arranged in a recess of a fork tine tip.
  3. Truck according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that in the region of each of the two tips of the fork tines ( 4 ) each a light sensor ( 22 ) and / or a light source ( 23 ) and / or a light entry opening of a time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) is arranged, the fields of view are directed obliquely forward and outward.
  4. Truck according to one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the truck is a display unit ( 7 ), which communicate with the evaluation unit ( 6 ) and configured to display one or more of the following instructions to an operator in response to a current position of the load bearing means in relation to a sensed storage position: lifting or lowering load support means, moving load support means to the right or left, moving the load support means about a vertical axis Turn left or right, tilt the load support up or down from the horizontal, move the load support longitudinally forward or backward.
  5. Truck according to one of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the evaluation unit ( 6 ) spatially into the time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) is integrated.
  6. Method for operating an industrial truck that has a mast ( 3 ) on which a load carrying device with two forks ( 4 ) is guided in a height-adjustable manner, a sensor arranged on the load carrying means for detecting a spatial environment and an evaluation unit ( 6 ), which is designed to determine a storage position from the data acquired by the sensor in order to support a storage process, wherein the sensor is a time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) with a light source ( 23 ), a light sensor ( 22 ) and a light inlet opening and at least the light inlet opening in the region of a tip of one of the fork tines ( 4 ) with the following steps: • Detecting a spatial environment of the industrial truck with the time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ), • Evaluating the signals of the time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) and determining a storage or retraction position, • moving the load-bearing means towards the determined storage or retraction position, and • picking up or setting down a load.
  7. A method according to claim 6, characterized in that the determination of the storage or retraction position by means of methods of pattern recognition, wherein predefined geometric characteristics of the storage positions or the loads to be absorbed in the of the time-of-flight camera system ( 5 ) are made available.
  8. A method according to claim 6 or 7, characterized in that an operator depending on a current position of the load supporting means in relation to the detected storage or retraction position one or more of the following instructions are displayed: Raise or lower load support means, load carrying means move to the right or left , Rotate the load bearing equipment to the left or right about a vertical axis, tilt the load support up or down from the horizontal, move the load support longitudinally forward or backward.
  9. Method according to one of claims 6 to 8, characterized in that the moving of the load carrying means is partially automatic, wherein an operator agrees to individual movement steps and the respective movement step is then carried out automatically without further user interaction.
  10. Method according to one of claims 6 to 8, characterized in that the movement of the load carrying means is fully automatic, wherein after a rough positioning of the truck and / or the load-carrying means by an operator moving the load supporting means to the determined storage or retraction position out and recording or Settling the load by agreement of the operator without further user interaction takes place.
  11. Method according to one of claims 6 to 10, characterized in that it is automatically distinguished on the basis of a determined with a load sensor, taken by the load supporting means load between a loading and a removal process, in particular the storage of a load is automatically prevented or A warning is displayed if the presence of a load is detected on the relevant storage bin.
  12. Method according to one of claims 6 to 11, characterized in that on a shelf a mark ( 80 ) is mounted with a predetermined geometric shape, which is automatically detected by the evaluation and used to determine a storage position.
DE201010055774 2010-12-23 2010-12-23 Industrial truck with a sensor for detecting a spatial environment and method for operating such a truck Withdrawn DE102010055774A1 (en)

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EP11010035.1A EP2468678B1 (en) 2010-12-23 2011-12-21 Industrial truck with a sensor for detecting the surroundings and method for operating such an industrial truck

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